Friday, September 12, 2008

State on Ike alert

Coastal residents scrambled from low-lying areas Thursday as Hurricane Ike brought the threat of high winds and tides to Vermilion Parish and other places still reeling from Gustav and recovering from Rita.

The storm is expected to hit below Galveston, but because it is so large, it's sending high winds and a significant storm surge toward Louisiana.

"If you live in a coastal area, if you're in an area that flooded during Hurricane Rita, I strongly encourage you to evacuate," Governor Bobby Jindal said at a news conference at the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. "As it moves farther north or slows down, it's worse for Louisiana."

The coast is not the only area threatened by Ike. As the storm moves up through east Texas and possibly across north Louisiana, it could drop as much as three inches of rain on Shreveport, the governor said.

Although Jindal urges people to leave, he said he knows some people will choose not to do it. "If the storm changes track, we've got the boats and personnel to rescue people. If Houston is hit, that could definitely impact the supply of natural gas and gasoline," the governor said. The Houston area is home to several refineries and natural gas plants.

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